Sister Whispers: Twin tag

Let me introduce you to my twin. She is six years younger than me, but many people, including teenaged boys who work at Harris Teeter and convinced we’re twins.

So without further adieu, here is the first edition of Sister Whispers. A twin tag.

1. Who’s the oldest?
JL1:I think it’s me.
JL2:definitely jessica (but you’d never tell)
2. Show us an old photo
Here.

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3. Favorite memory together?
JL1:When we did the scavenger hunt in the Billy Graham museum and got trapped, and all we won was bookmarks.
JL2:ummmmmm letsss seeee man of steel / that one time we said that weird thing at the same time… i mean c’mon twin telepathy is a real thing!!!
4. Each others dream job?
JL1:I want to be SNL head writer and she wants to do naps and movie making or screenwriting.
JL2:u like acting/writing/singing jobs so something snl-ish
5. Who takes longer to get ready in the morning?
JL1:My twin because she actually brushes her hair.
JL2:definitely me- it takes work to look this good
6. Do you have anything matching?
JL1:Yes lots of matching clothes but only by accident. And American flag dresses and Disney shirts.
JL2:we have matching faces…
7. Did you ever dress alike?
JL1:Yes and now quite often but not on purpose since we just wear each others clothes for diversity.
JL2:we wear each others clothes so yes and wear stripes accidentally at the same time.. plus like 75% of my clothes are hand me downs via you
8. Song you would use to describe each-other?
JL1:“Take me or leave me” from Rent because it’s about sisters.
JL2:classic
9. What color are your auras?
JL1:Mine is blue and hers is pink because she likes Strawberry Shortcake.
JL2:purple (not really sure what this means but the purple is a reference to almost famous!)
10. One thing you can do well that the other can’t?
JL1:Not fall asleep, eat junk food without hives, and read the Anne of Green Gables series.
JL2:i can draw sometimes.. brush hair(no offense) ummm do weird things ie jumping dares/ jalapeno pulp
11. Most memorable outfit ever worn?
JL1:When she went to prom.
JL2:of me or you?? of you ummmm that yellow shirt when youre smiling really big-
12. Do you have the same personalities?
JL1:Basically yes because we’re tiny girls who are like bridge trolls, but I’m loud (people tell me) and she’s so shy or quiet. She’s shiet.
JL2:no , im probably a lot meaner than you… a lot weirder.. sensitivity.. im shy but fannie and freddie ya know
13. Silliest question about being twins?
JL1:It’s silly because we’re not twins and I’m really old but people think we are.
JL2:are you both gay?
14. Describe each other in one word.
JL1:Her-Sister. Me-Sister.
JL2:quick- wits
15. One thing that annoys you about each other?
JL1:She always falls asleep and won’t play activities with me.
JL2:sometimes you cant stay still and you are do a lot of tricks on me ie hiding in closets and christian bale tricks
16. If you could go anywhere in the world together, where would it be and why?
JL1:Two separate caves in different places so we can have our own peace and quiet and hide from society.
JL2:umm anywhere tom hiddleston is ummm italy so u can watch me live out my spagetti dreams
17. Nicknames you have for each other?
JL1:Not Jessica or Pflane Caruleand or Pippa Middleton or Charles.
JL2:les… dr galine…. nanny bums/herby bread basket(it took me like 2 minutes to remember this)/narcissa malfoy
18. What do you order at fast food restaurants?
JL1:Anything! Usually chicken nuggets and fries. She only gets ice cream or frosties.
JL2:u like those lil tacos from jack in the box and u like to buy mountain dew/coke
19. Favorite thing about each other?
JL1:We’re just sisters.
JL2:u do lots of jokes and i love doing laughs- endless comedy..
20. Favorite inside joke?
JL1:I love inside jokes. I’d love to be a part of one someday.
JL2:so many ummmmm that little girl that touched ur boots ummm were really good at kickball and ava jokes, youre a shirley and ya dont know me ummmm lol when classic came on CACAO, cody simpsons dance oh my

Graze review-I attempt to eat fruits and vegetables

“Stop, oh yes, wait a minute Mr.Postman, wait, oh yes, wait a minute Mr. Postman.”

The lyrics above from the classic Motown hit capture perfectly my feelings toward receiving mail. However, rather than a love letter, my choice deliverables are snacks.

Goodness knows the trend of monthly mailings has increased. My first foray into regular goodie boxes has been with Graze.

Originally based in the U.K., Graze sends you a brown box of four different healthy snacks, individually wrapped.

At first, Graze codes were difficult to come by. You either had to receive a code from a friend, (each customer got one code to give out), or join a wait list. Fortunately, a coworker handed over her code, and seeing as I love to receive mail and am competitive when it comes to joining clubs that are difficult to get into, I signed up for Graze.

Imagine, hours upon hours of scanning through snacks, categorizing them as either “trash,” “try,” “like,” or “love.”

In theory, the subscription is useful if you’re looking to regulate your snack intake and eat healthier. As with almost everything in life, the subscription has its benefits, and disadvantages.

Note: For some reason I have zero photos of any of the snack boxes. Use your imagination or just visit Graze to see some pictures of the food, or read their FAQs which I’m sure explain the service much more eloquently.

Pros:

1. This stuff is healthy!

I’m a lover of all things fried, sugary, and cannot resist the occasional bag of Cheetos. These little packs are very convenient, since they’re small and can be stashed in a desk drawer or in a purse or bag. Instead of heading to the vending machine or drive thru, they’re very handy and a filling enough, but not huge portion. Seeing as how I avoid fruits and vegetables at all cost, they’re a good source of nutrition.

2. Convenience

If you don’t live near a health store like Whole Foods or Sprouts, Graze snacks can be a good replacement for some interesting dried produce you wouldn’t be able to find in a regular supermarket. Also, if you’re incredibly busy and don’t have time to shop, getting boxes in the mail can be super convenient and a big time saver.

3. Flexibility

Initially, Graze boxes only ran on a weekly basis, but later added new plans, including receiving a box every two weeks, or every four weeks. I switched to the two week plan, and later four month plan so I could continue my subscription without being inundated with snacks every week.

Cons:

1. Price

At $5/$6 a box depending on your join date, the boxes aren’t exactly cheap. Taking into consideration a small pack of sunflower seeds would thus run at about $1.25, it would be much more cost-effective to buy the same product in bulk at Whole Foods. $20 a month for a weekly box may seem like a bargain, but the same amount of money could be used to buy at least double the amount of food from a regular grocery store.

2. No control over selection

Although you can give your preferences for each snack on the website, you can’t guarantee that you will receive a certain snack you’d want to try. Services like Naturebox allow you to pick specific snacks, or leave some selections up for random. Graze won’t let you select exactly what you’d like sent. Certain snacks like the pina colada dried fruit mix or chili pistachios I would purchase in bulk in a minute, or at least have sent every month. However, you can’t directly control what you receive, and if you don’t update your preferences, could end up with duplicates of things you did not enjoy.

3. Limited offerings

This is more applicable to picky eaters like myself, but some of the ingredients in many of the snacks are in almost every selection. For instance, I just can’t do raisins. Eliminating the snacks with raisins took a good number of trail mixes and fruit mixes out of the running. Again, this is a problem for me specifically, not the service. The UK service has desserts, as well as tea…which I would love. Unfortunately, the US service is more limited.

Note: I also started the subscription in the summer, so it was incredibly hot outside. Some of the best snack mixes had chocolate, which unfortunately, melted within a short time in the mailbox. Keep in mind freezing or hot weather when rating snacks.

Final thoughts:

I subscribed for about 8 months, and decided to put my deliveries on hold. Ultimately, I wasn’t using the service as intended, since I would stash the snacks that didn’t necessarily appeal to me. It wasn’t cost effective to continue, even though I was on the most infrequent plan as it was. It was fun to receive a mystery box every week, and sample different snacks. However, the costs added up for food I wasn’t always eating.

Let me know! Do you subscribe to Birchbox, Naturebox, or any other fun subscription?

 

Is it tea you’re looking for? (Teavana review)

lionel-richie-hello-o

Hello? I love a good tea-related pun, this one courtesy of Lionel.

Segway goes here…so as I’ve become even more addicted to all things British, Sherlock, Prince George, and beautiful Kate and Pippa being just a few of my favorites, I find myself drinking tea on a daily basis.

A wannabe Brit’s guide to all things tea

 

Tea Graphic

Don't mind if I do

Don’t mind if I do

As a student, unfortunately I don’t have the best resources to brew myself the best, so tea bags are usually my go to.

However, after visiting a lovely Tea House over spring break, I set my mind to stepping up my tea game.

Now my mother has excellent tea resources, from great pots with build in filter cups, to that fancy plastic thing that steeps itself and you put on top of your cup to drain (what an eloquent description), but my barebones apartment doesn’t have such equipment, nor am I feeling free enough to purchase said goods.

So, I found a little strainer ball thing that has a lovely hook I can clip to the side of my mug, to brew myself a gorgeous cuppa when I’m chillaxing, working, or winding down at night. (jk, see “insomnia” post here.)

For loose tea, Teavana has been the best bet thus far. I was gifted a tin ofearl grey creme, a black tea. What I like about Teavana’s mixes is that it’s other funky ingredients like vanilla pieces, or dried fruit in addition to the tea leaves. It’s a nice vanilla-y tea, fairly mild, without a major caffeine jolt or overly strong tea taste. It’s heavy on the creme flavor.

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Earl Grey Creme, photo from Teavana. I don’t have pretty bowls, so let’s rely on their gorgeous pictures.

Today, I finally stumbled into the nearest shopping center with a Teavana, with the intent to buy a green tea to add to my stash. Granted, Teavana has a wide selection. Since I figured I might as well pick something snazzy, I bought 2 oz. of the Jade Citrus Mint variety. It’s heavy on the lemongrass, and has a nice citrus kick to it. Overall, it’s very mild as well, and is low on the caffeine scale, but high in anti-oxidants. After reading of the health benefits, I’m attempting to drink a cup a day. It also smells wonderfully. If you’re going to splurge on fancy loose tea, might as well pick something unique, right?

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Jade Citrus Mint. photo from Teavana. Is it weird if I name my future daughter after this tea?

Since I don’t live close to a store, I picked up a second loose tea as well. For the past two years, I’ve been drinking Yerba Mate as a morning substitute for coffee. Granted, I don’t always wake up early enough to brew a batch and pour it in a thermos, so I do still buy cups of coffee. But to save money, I try to drink tea instead, also to avoid having brown pirate-y teeth in the future.

Whole Foods’ Yerba Mate tea bags are great, and do contain a good enough amount of caffeine to do the trick in the morning. I can’t really compare its taste to anything else, but it is similar to a plain hot green tea, but with a bolder flavor.

Teavana has multiple varieties of Mate tea. I also picked up 2 oz. of the Caribbean Calypso Mate Tea, which smells divine. I’m a fan of all things tropical, the Caribbean Passion smoothie at Jamba Juice being a favorite, so this tea seemed like a fun variety. In addition to the tea leaves, this mix has pieces of dried apples, mango, pineapple, and coconut. It’s also low on the caffeine scale, but unlike green tea, isn’t listed on the anti-oxidant scale. Still, for those who aren’t into tea, it’s a good fruity variety.

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 I’m tempted to just eat this mix. So pretty. Is this what heaven smells like?

Note: My handy dandy tea ball strainer hasn’t been the most effective for brewing tea with really fine leaves. I decided to do a science experiment, along with guidance from other thrifty people on the Google, and attempted to brew my own tea using my coffee maker. Lo and behold, it worked! Granted, tea experts would probably be horrified, but I just used a coffee filter, put about a tablespoon of loose tea (more than you would put directly into a strainer for a mug since the tea won’t be soaking for as long), and let ‘er brew. I’ve just been refilling the water throughout the day and using the same leaves, and have brewed about 8 cups total thus far with just that batch. I don’t taste any coffee flavor or anything, and my machine is just a simple, one button Mr. Coffee. The Keurig reusable cup would do the trick as well.

My dream tea date

My dream tea date

So, all that being said, let’s all take an hour this week to brew or steep a nice cuppa, curl up with a good book or movie, and relax.

Are you a tea drinker? Got any interesting methods or gadgets? Do you hate tea? Any favorite flavors?

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Fed up with the set-up

prince blog pic

Ah, the perils of early twenty-something-dom. Inevitably, post high school graduation, and the closer you inch to college graduation, the next major step, or at least hot topic of conversation, turns to marriage.

Or as I like to call it…

mawwage

The older I get, (yes, I realize I’m not actually old at all thank goodness) the more I realize that until that (hopefully) hunk of a rock is on my finger, every Tom, Dick, and Harry will inquire as to my romantic perils.

Specifically, it’s more of an Karen, Susan, and Tiffany, since most males I’ve met fortunately tend to have no interest in my dating life.

Alas, seeing as I am a deceptively nice person, who, as I was once told is “not ugly,” well-meaning friends, family, and random acquaintances instantaneously take it upon themselves to find me a husband.

*Disclaimer. I’m watching Thor 2 while writing this, so this post may turn into a Chris Hemsworth appreciation forum. Just a warning.

At times, it can be extremely frustrating to be likened to a commodity of sorts. Like any single male and I are like two chemical substances that can be thrown into a test tube, and have some kind of spark. (see what I did there?)

The majority of the time, it is funny to see what eligible bachelors are presented to me, as if all single people are cards in a game of memory, just to be randomly flipped over, in hopes of a match.

If you do decide to try to find me a husband, please use this as a template.

If you do decide to try to find me a husband, please use this as a template.

PSA: On behalf of all single people, do not feel it is your duty to find me a husband. Unless you are a matchmaker by trade, or Patti from The Millionaire Matchmaker, it is simply alright to respond to my answer that I am single, with an “Oh” followed by a smile, joke about how you wish you were still single, or kind statement about how I’m still young, and there are plenty of fish in the sea.

Feel no obligation whatsoever to run through your brain archives for any single nephews, neighbors, coworkers, baristas, dentists, doctors, aliens, lumberjacks, that you think might like, or at least tolerate me.

Not to say that single people are completely free of guilt in this predicament. I more often than not will look at your picture or listen to your verbal descriptions of said eligible bachelor, and will instantly respond with a “yes, hook a sister up,” “no thanks,” “ew,” or any other natural response.

When-You-Pick-Online-Dating-Over-Bars

But when I think about if the situation was reversed, I hate the thought of being judged. Whether based on a picture, where I unfortunately display a beautiful double-chin, a highlight reel of my faults, or any other unintentionally unattractive criterion, I don’t want to be judged.

Thus, rather than immediately dismiss the prospect of marriage, or mentally walk down the aisle with a guy I’ve been offered, I’m going to pause. and think about the other person, and how I’d feel to be rejected through a third party by a guy.

Married friends, or friends in a relationship, we’re okay if we’re single.

 

If you are going to set us up, don’t tell us, so we get all weird like Michael Scott/”Date Mike” when under pressure to be charming and live up to your most likely inflated description of us.


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To end this on a happy note, my father always tells me that while set ups may be cumberbatch cumbersome for the time being, if I was a totally gross or repulsive person, people wouldn’t be taking the steps to try to find me a guy. So I guess I’m doing something right if people think I’m worthy of a man.

That last statement makes me wonder if I’m watching too many Jane Austen movies.

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Saying no to all-nighters

LOL.

LOL.

I can’t sleep.

No, not just tonight. Ever. I may just name my daughter Insomnia. (Poor future Insomnia is probably praying she’ll be born a boy.)

I’m the queen of having brilliant, world-changing ideas, right as my head hits the pillow. For as long as I can remember, I’ve never been able to fall asleep. My bed, cars, airplanes, you name it, I am staying awake.

Several other members of my family, who shall remain unnamed, can fall asleep like it’s nobody’s business.

Apparently when the Good Lord divided up the sleep talent, he didn’t divvy it up quite evenly.

Anyway, in college, I can only ever recall one all-nighter. The first came as a result of postponing writing a 10 page paper in the hopes the professor would forget about it until the last minute, and thus cancel it. (It wasn’t until about 2 a.m. that I decided on a topic, (Gender equality in professional sports) and finally ran with it.)

Wishful thinking. Good thing I’m a glass-half-full kind of gal.

Thus, I can’t say I understand the “I’ll just pull an all-nighter mentality.” Come hell or high water, at some point before the sun rises, I will be in my bed. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those lucky souls who can go sans sleep, and function normally.

Nope. Sleep deprived, and most likely caffeine-riddled me can’t do it. I crash. Leslie Knope style.

Leslie Knope. I feel ya.

Leslie Knope. I feel ya.

Maybe it’s part of my early onset, Grandma-dom. I just can’t do all-nighters. I can’t. I also can’t sleep upright, so forget about sneakily sleeping in class. I end up dreaming about riding a bike, and then when I inevitably fall of said dream bike, jolt up, knocking things off my desk in the process. Worth the risk? Nah.

Until I master the art of sleeping with my eyes open, I’ll be forever constrained to taking every herbal sleep remedy the good folks at Whole Foods can sell me on, and trying to make myself tired whilst coming up with the next Great American Novel at 3:12 a.m.

Sleeping Beauty. Also, typography ftw!

Sleeping Beauty. Also, typography ftw!